Last week I complained profusely on Facebook about being robbed during my recent trip to Mexico’s southernmost state of Chiapas. Upon arrival to Palenque, my very first stop, I discovered I was targeted in transit and consequently left without any money and without my most valuable possession – my camera! Two weeks later I still feel pangs of devastation, heartbreak and supreme guilt about borrowing money from people I love to replace my gear, not to mention the logistical Catch-22 of my situation. It’s actually rather difficult to approach the writing of this story as I seem to have temporarily lost faith in humanity and all that is good in the world… However, from past experience I know these things are always a matter of perspective and I certainly don’t want to remain a victim. Instead I want to use this blog post to help me switch focus from what I lost to what I gained. And what I gained, first and foremost, was a long-awaited trip to one of Mexico’s most beautiful and interesting locations – Chiapas. What I also gained, thanks to a friend’s generous offer to use her camera, are photos of San Cristobal de las Casas in the above slideshow. Located in Mexico’s Central Highlands region at 2,200 meters above sea level, the city of San Cristobal sits in a small valley surrounded by hills and enjoys temperate climate despite its tropical location. Up here in the mountains the afternoon light is golden, crisp, and reminiscent of amber from surrounding pine tree forests.
Of course one simply cannot talk about Chiapas and San Cristobal without mentioning the ongoing revolutionary leftist Zapatista movement synonymous with the region. Chiapas gained international attention on January 1, 1994, when EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) was led by Subcomandante Marcos in an uprising against NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) that went into effect that same day. Fighting to protect indigenous interests against the government, the ideology of Zapatista movement is an incredibly intelligent fusion of values of indigenous Maya with social anarchism and Marxism. For this reason San Cristobal, being the cultural capital of the state, is permeated by the spirit of a new kind of revolution – one whose aim is to raise consciousness and personal engagement in core economic, environmental and human rights issues at the heart of the country as well as the rest of the planet!
If you want to understand the fascinating political and economic landscape of Mexico and how it influences global economy, please refer to these Wikipedia articles: